STAR WARS: Will Some U.S. Theaters Ban The Last Jedi Over Insane Disney Demands?

There has been a major disturbance in the Force. Star Wars Episode 8 was cruising towards a massive box office triumph in December but now some theaters may refuse to screen The Last Jedi at all. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Disney is demanding such oppressive contracts with theater chains that some may be forced to pull the movie from the Christmas schedules, leaving fans disappointed. Share prices fell for major chains after the news and fans online are outraged at what is being seen as an “awful” and “ridiculous” money grab.What is going on and who will be affected? According to the report, Disney is requiring all US theater chains and small independents alike to agree to terms that are “the most onerous they’ve ever seen.” The Wall Street Journal said:

“Those terms include the fact that Disney will receive 65% of revenue from ticket sales, the highest percentage a Hollywood studio has ever demanded. They’re also forcing theaters to screen the film in their largest auditorium for at least four weeks.”

It is highly unlikely that larger US cities with multiplexes will be affected since owners can still show other films easily at the same time. Smaller towns and independent theatres that only have one or two screens, however, would struggle if they had to guarantee to keep the movie on the largest screen for so many weeks, even after the local audiences have all seen the movie. Disney will allow these theaters to move The Last Jedi to a smaller screen but will demand an increased 70% cut of the total ticket revenue as a penalty. Independent screens and smaller chains may simply not be able to accept these demands. One site said:

“It has become clear that some theaters in rural areas of the US are refusing to go along with this, not wanting to leave their biggest screens tied up for so long. Which probably means that some fans of the Jedi saga will have to travel far and wide to see their heroes come alive on screen.”

”The Hollywood Reporter said: “Wall Street punished movie theater chains for the umpteenth time this year on Wednesday, the catalyst this time perhaps being the revelation that Walt Disney will be taking a bigger chunk of the ticket revenue for Star Wars: The Last Jedi than any studio has ever taken for any film before.

“Coinciding with the news, for example, AMC Entertainment, the largest theater chain, saw its shares sink 3.2 percent to $13.45.

“Regal Entertainment shares dropped 3.7 percent to $15.74 and are now off 21 percent on the year; Cinemark Holdings fell 2.6%.”

 

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